September 25, 2012 - 2:39pm
The Federal Government’s supposed commitment to the manufacturing industry came under the spotlight today with the announcement of a five per cent reduction in print spending under cuts announced by the Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Penny Wong.
Printing like most other areas of the manufacturing industry is facing enormous challenges as it deals with a high Australian Dollar, shrinking margins and increased competition through the emergence of a multi-channel communication world.
Printing Industries Association of Australia (Printing Industries) CEO Bill Healey said that there appeared to be a disconnect between today’s announcement and the Government’s long-term support for local business.
“It remains unclear how the figure was determined and where the cuts will be focussed,” he said.
“However it is estimated that a significant proportion of the $6 million in cuts will be borne by printers in Canberra based on the high level of work they do for Commonwealth Agencies.”
Mr Healey said that initial estimates suggested that over 50 full time jobs were at risk in the ACT alone.
“The Government needs to understand that print intrinsically remains the preferred communication medium for many Australians.
“If cuts are required then they should be linked to a more holistic review of the broad spend on Government communications rather than a narrow focus on one sector,” he said.
Mr Healey said that Printing Industries also believed the Government could not ignore the environmental costs of moving to greater on-line delivery.
“People don’t realise that in a multimedia world, print and paper will continue to be the sustainable way to communicate. By contrast some 234 million items of e-waste, a figure rapidly growing, end up in landfill in Australia each year.
“Electronic waste is now the fastest growing component of the municipal waste stream."
Mr Healey said Printing Industries would be writing to the Government outlining the likely impact of the proposed changes on the industry. It will also seek to have the Printing Industry Ministerial Working Group used as a vehicle to monitor decisions relating to any cuts.
He said the industry believed that today’s announcement merely continued the past practice of Government’s targeting easy areas when it needed to reduce expenditure.
“While government dollars may need to be saved, greater effort is now required for it to be done in a way that does not inject further pain on struggling small business operators,” he said.
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